The powdery mildew fungi are one of the most ubiquitous plant pathogen groups worldwide. Powdery mildews likely share features with beneficial fungi in that they must beable to minimize host damage and defense activation while manipulating hosts into providing nutrients. The project focuses on the genomes of 11 powdery mildews, including 3 species that infect designated bioenergy crops. One of the project’s goals is to be able to make comparisons across powdery mildew species’ cell wall degrading enzymes in order to identify novel plant species-specific enzymes and co-factors, allowing more bioenergy crop-specific and targeted approaches to biomass degradation. The generated resources will serve a large powdery mildew community and accelerate diverse studies including outcomes that enhance the resistance of economically important crops to powdery mildew infection, limit fungicide use, allow more sustainable agricultural practices, and provide new insights into bioenergy crop growth, metabolism, disease protection and degradation.
Proposer’s Name: Mary Wildermuth, University of California, Berkeley